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MPS Service Level Agreements - What you need to know

Thursday 27 September 2018

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) help to protect your company from unfair terms in a Managed Print Services (MPS) contract, such as long or delayed fix times if an issue arises.

o ensure the service is good for both the MPS supplier and your company, you can ask questions in the RFP that align with the service you expect.

In this blog, we’re dealing specifically with the service that keeps your printing processes up and running, although there are many questions to ask when inviting MPS suppliers to tender or answer an RFP.

Here’s what you need to know and ask when it comes to SLAs for Managed Print Services:

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1) Response time and time to fix

When something goes wrong with a printer or a device that’s covered by the Managed Print Service provider, what’s the process that takes place to get a fix in place? How long does it take? How is the issue received by the MPS provider?

Having an agreement in place that clearly defines the process that a supplier takes when an issue arises is one thing, having service analytics and agreed levels of service is another.

In order to stop your organisation grinding to a halt because the printer system goes down for 2 days, you need to agree suitable response times and time to fix that fit with your business.

Some of the questions to ask include:

  • What is the level of your ‘first time fix’? Please also explain how you define ‘first-time fix’
  • What is the average time to resolution of the issue?
  • What is the engineer response time?
  • Please describe your escalation process when any problem arises?
  • Who is the first point of contact when any problem arises?
  • What percentage of all issues are resolved proactively by you? Please explain how this percentage is calculated.

2) Engineer capability and availability

A service is only as good as it’s engineers! Even if a supplier’s support team and response time is amazing, if the engineers get to site and can’t fix the problem, you’re back to square one and the time to fix gets longer.

To ensure you get the best service and the best engineers, here are some questions to ask in an RFP:

  • Are your engineers specialists in the brand of device that you are proposing? Please provide evidence where possible.
  • Are your engineers capable of repairing devices of other brands? If yes, what brands?
  • What percentage of parts are carried by the engineer on their first visit?
  • How many engineers are available in the area?

3) Uptime

As well as fixes and engineer capability is the ongoing service and the ‘uptime’. Effectively, this is the time that everything is up and running as it should be allowing you to carry on with business as usual. This metric is usually given as a percentage.

The closer to 100% the better but anything in the high 90s is good. More importantly, is to question reasons that a company might not be near 100% uptime - what sort of issues are usually caused to bring the uptime down?

Other questions you might ask in relation to SLAs for Managed Print Services are based around the capability of remote support and the tracking of consumables:

  • What is the level of capability of your remote support offering?
  • How do we track where consumables are located when they are in the process of being delivered?

When it comes to SLAs for Managed Print Services, it’s good to take all of these elements into account, but ultimately, you need to ask questions that relate to what your company needs and judge the service level agreement based on whether it meets your requirements for the service.

The provider should be willing to be flexible but should also be able to provide analytics on the service and give future recommendations for the service based on how your organisation utilises print.

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